Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Inspiration: Diego Velazquez

Diego Velasquez, Venus and her Mirror (The Rokeby Venus), 1650 (source)
Diego Velasquez, Vieja Friendo Heuvos (old lady frying eggs), 1618. (source)
Velasquez is mostly known for his portraits of the Spanish royal family, but the thing that I love most is the way that he treats his backgrounds, the scenes are full of objects, and fabrics that are painted with just as much care as his figures. The brushstrokes are painterly and lush, but the whole image feels very real, and every brushstroke counts. I love the shadow of the knife laying across the bowl, and the gauzy texture of the headscarf.

For some reason, Venus as a painting subject matter really fascinates me, in school I did a study of the rokeby Venus, and then went on to write papers about Giorgione, Titian and Manet's versions of Venus. Velasquez' Venus is sumptuous, and lovely, and trying replicate the subtle textures of the fabrics was a really great exercise. You get a feeling of what each fabric is- heavy velvet curtains, blue silk taffeta, and fine white bed linens, just through the way the light reflects on them, which is a pretty remarkable thing to translate into paint.  

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